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The Psychoanalyst and the One

In Seminar 20, Encore, Chapter X, “Rings of String”, J. Lacan says the following: “These interrupted sentences (…) leave some sort of substance in abeyance. We perceive here the requirement of a sentence, whatever it may be, which is such that one of its links, when missing, sets all the others free, that is, withdraws from them the One”.[i]

What does it mean to withdraw the One or that the One withdraws? Of what substance is it?

In these pages J. Lacan wants to make us feel the importance of the Borromean knot, in other words the importance that the three rings, which he represents with the One, hold together. And here Schreber’s interrupted sentences serve to show what happens when a link is broken; an effect of disorder, of dispersion in language that leaves meaning in suspense until further notice. Sometimes they are small signs, sometimes large voids.

Faced with the phenomenon of withdrawal of the One, I interrogate the place of the analyst. How can one make use of it to reestablish a possible knotting? Can the analyst incarnate the One needed to reestablish the connection between one link and another?The expression “the presence of the analyst”, to designate one aspect of transference,[ii] serves as a guide. Presence so that a pleasure that has gone adrift can be located.Presence so that a bond, even if it is the only one, is possible. Presence so that it is possible to have a body at least for certain periods of time.“Be more relaxed when you receive someone”;[iii] this is a precious indication from J. Lacan that allows us to read the analyst’s position as a flexible One, but with the power to keep together what is most fitting for each.

(Translation: Philip Dravers)

[i] Lacan, J. The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XX: Encore, trans. Bruce Fink (London & New York: W.W. Norton, 1998), p. 128.

[ii] Caroz, G., Quelques remarques sur la direction de la cure Dans la psychose ordinaire, Quarto 94-95, Bruxelles, Janvier 2009, p.59.

[iii] Lacan, J. “La Troisième”, Lettres de l’Ecole freudienne, n°16, 1975, pp.177-203.